Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Ten New Details // "The Devil's Right Hand"

Authors love to create the perfect environment for a reveal. When a reader is genuinely blown away by a development in a book or story we've penned, we grow every shade of excited. We've done our job.

I'm no different and I've been accused of being a terrible tease with the short stories and sample snippets I've doled out. However! Darcia Helle over at A Word Please is a friend, author and reader who tagged me in a challenge to share a bit about what I'm working on. It's a great opportunity to share insight about my current work and what will be out later this year.

And, like her, I can’t turn down a challenge.

The rules are simple. I have to:

First, answer 10 questions about my current work-in-progress.

Second, tag five other writers and link their blogs so we can all hop over and read their answers.

Here are the questions:

  1. What is the working title of your book?
  2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
  3. What genre does your book fall under?
  4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
  5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
  6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
  7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
  8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
  9. Who or What inspired you to write this book?
  10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

And now for my answers:

1. The Title...

The title is not working. It's final. It's called "The Devil's Right Hand" and it's the first long book in what may be a series of them about The Night Walk Men. It was the readers of that piece who number in the thousands and wanted more of Sperro and his brother Fallow.

2. The Idea...

The Night Walk Men themselves came from a desperate need to write something I had never seen on bookstore shelves before. I started by tinkering with the idea of P.O.V. I thought, "Why can't I write from the never used point-of-view called 'omniscient first-person?'" That is, a narrator who is both part of the action but also knows everything about the thoughts, motivations and histories of every character in the tale.  I tried it and realized who the character was immediately. He simply had to be a harbinger of both life and death. His father's name is Obsidion and his name? His name is Sperro, thank you for asking.

The resulting novella was downloaded by an astonishing 50,000 readers at Amazon one weekend. I simply had to revisit his world (and his point of view) to see how it would work in a longer form novel.

3. Genre...

Literary Suspense? A dash of the horrific? Some serious, mind-bending realizations about the frailty and fleeting nature of life? So much musing on the idea of death and how we each deal with it so poorly? Come on now. Authors shouldn't be left to describe or, heaven forbid, categorize their own work. We're awful at it. And I'm the very worst.

4. Actors...

Who would play the leads in "The Devil's Right Hand" if it was a big budget movie? Any guess is as good as mine. I don't really "see" the faces of the characters as anyone you might recognize while I'm writing a story...but I know that's not part of the game. Let's see if we can come up with some fun ones...

Sperro -- Our smarmy narrator who has "seen a whale of a lot more" in his ten lives "than you have in your one life." He has to be likable enough that you want to see his story play out, but you need to know that he understands every angle on every piece of ever puzzle ever created. As he puts it, "In a way, I am a god to you and your kind."

Maybe actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers:

Fallow -- He has to be handsome and with piercing blue eyes, the color of his father's. He needs a touch of mischief and be close enough to "The Common Man" for men to relate to the heavy burden he carries. Fallow is our centrepiece Walker, replete with the toils of being merely a worker bee with no role model and needing more than just his Duty to make him whole.

Maybe actor Henry Cavill:

Kro -- Saucy and knowing, this female member of the Walkers has a special kind of Duty. She can interact more directly with the rest of the living world you and I call home. But she has secrets. They talk and tussle with every step she takes. But they are only teases. With her "long black dagger" of hair, Kro is adept at keeping things clean, fast and hidden.

Maybe actress Olivia Wilde:

Noco -- Playful, young and gorgeous, Noco is fiercely independent and reliant upon no one. She is as stubborn as her father, and just as knowledgeable about the ways and responsibilities of The Night Walk Men.

Maybe actress Teresa Palmer:

Benton Garamond -- Benton is a middle-aged every man. He's also strong-willed and possesses that rare ability to know exactly how to handle nearly every situation. What's coming next, though, he has no clue how to tackle it. He's hanging on for the ride of his life...and an onslaught brought about by his own actions.

Apologies to Darcia Helle (who used the same actor in her post), but maybe actor Gerard Butler:

Donnie Lo -- A Chinese-Canadian who was once the master of an immense illegal empire stretching from the heights of Vancouver's glass towers to the lowest points of its seedy streets. This man is seriously strung out on the remnants of his success. His former glory is eating him alive.

Maybe actor Aaron Kwok:

5. One Sentence...

"Everyone dies. Could be you. Could even be me."

Alright, alright. Enough out of you. That's three sentence fragments, but it's one line!

6. Self-published...

...because I've had success so far!

7. The First Draft...

It took me one hundred days last autumn while the rains fell and the leaves turned. It has been a long journey through many subsequent drafts and edits to make it to this point. Hopefully the hard work will inspire the imaginations of readers who really liked their intro to the characters over the last year.

8. Other Books...

Can't say there are other books I would compare to "The Devil's Right Hand." I tried to write something unique. It bends the conventions and breaks rules of genre. Well, that's just my fancy way of saying I can't think of any other books which might be similar. As to the writing, there are flavours of Chuck Palahniuk and Stephen King and Neil Gaiman. At least, that's what readers tell me when they read my other books.

9. Inspiration...

This one began rolling around in my noodle after The Night Walk Men was downloaded by an astonishing 50,000 readers via Amazon last June. The storyline and characters are drawn from a million different pieces and I've fit them together into something that flows to a finale, I must admit, blew me away. I hope readers will feel the same exhilaration.

10. Piquing Curiosity...

What more can I say about "The Devil's Right Hand?" You'll never guess where it's headed. But by the time you get there, you'll see how it all fits together with everything else. And you'll be in for a hell of a ride with Sperro and the rest of the Night Walkers. Remember, Night Walk Men do not only deal in death.

Now for my five friends, I hope each will carry on with this fun challenge...


  1. Jason, I love your cast! Despite my preference for books over movies, this is one movie I'd be first in line to see!

    Can I brag that I've already gotten to read The Devil's Right Hand? Too bad if bragging isn't polite. I'm doing it, anyway. I got a early peak at this book and loved it! The Night Walk Men is an incredibly cool concept. And naturally, Jason, you handle it brilliantly. :)

    1. Wouldn't it be pretty amazing to see any of our stories as big blockbuster style Hollywood flicks, Darcia? I would hope the essence of them wouldn't be destroyed by executives and committees and focus groups, but it would be pretty cool to see a really well-made interpretation.

      You can brag! You know me well enough to know that all I want is for people to read and get some enjoyment out of the things I create. I think you're the same (although there's the small matter of you being unable to get the characters out of your head that drives you as well). The fact that your bragging makes me realize you had fun. And perhaps it will inspire others to read my stuff and enjoy it too. I like to write big, sweeping epics that are like puzzles for readers to figure out as they read...and then, when I get tired of that, I write simpler, more straightforward things (Like SHED or BLED) but that hopefully still get under a reader's skin.

      The Devil's Right Hand is one of the epic style books (Like THALO BLUE) but at its core it really is a simple story about how we approach the idea that our time in this world is so limited. How do we each deal with it?

      And I should mention that "The Night Walk Men" novella that started all this madness is going to be re-released with some cool extras in anticipation of Devil's launch in the coming months. Hopefully, folks who didn't have a chance to snag it the first time around will peer in and see if it's their cup of tea. Double meaning intended.

      Thanks, Darcia. So glad you tagged me for this fun blog post. I really had fun with this one.

      j. //

  2. "Literary suspense. A dash of Horrific" <----Definitely your kind of writing! I love it!

    This was waaaay fun, Jason. Loved the pics. So glad I stumbled upon your blog today. You've always got great stuff ;)

    1. And Morgan, I am always so happy when you "stumble" by! We really need to catch up. AND! I would really like to have you as a guest for BEHIND THE WORDS -- if you have time.

      Thanks for having a look, Ms. Shamy!

      j. //


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